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posted: 6/28/2012 5:30 AM

Beat the heat without breaking the bank

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By Brian Singer

With the weather taking a turn toward hot, here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Energy for staying cool without breaking the bank.

• Buying a bigger room air conditioner will not necessarily make you feel cooler. A room air conditioner that's too big for the area works less efficiently and effectively than one that fits the room.

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• Shut your central air conditioner's fan off at the same time as the compressor, which is usually done by using the "auto" mode.

• Don't use a central air system's fan to provide air circulation. Use circulating fans in individual rooms instead.

• Keep the thermostat temperature as high as comfortably possible. The smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your cooling bill will be.

• Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder-than-normal setting when turning on your air conditioning. It will not cool your house any faster and could cost you a bundle.

• Shut off your air conditioning when you know you'll be out of the house for a while and then turn it back on when you get back. Air conditioners work most efficiently when they're running at full speed.

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